FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (June 11, 2024) – Welcoming vivacious readers, a smattering of wrestlers, a scholarship recipient, and an advocate for heart-saving measures to their Tuesday meeting, it was all about creating a fun atmosphere as Charles Barbel prepares to close out his term as President of the Rotary Club of Flagler County.

Bringing a youthful vigor to the organization in a post-COVID world, Barbel has focused on being inclusive and celebrating Rotary’s achievements both locally and across the globe.

“Annually we are donating and giving back anywhere from $30 -$35,000 this year, in our community locally,” said Barbel. “Globally it’s up to $47,000, that Rotary is doing. We all have the mindset of helping and giving back to our community.”

Locally, the Flagler School District’s Read Across Flagler project on March 7th was funded by the Rotary Club and created a story time adventure for families in Flagler County.

“We were looking for support we were going to start our first annual Read Across Flagler event. We had it placed at the timeframe of the Read Across America event. During that time, we built a plan for story walks. Basically, we took student art, took some stories we wanted to highlight from high school, middle school, elementary and we made like a walking poster experience for families to come in, and they walked through and read parts of the story and they saw images. We brought in vendors, community service groups,” said Ackerman.

The single day event was hugely popular and with the cost for production coming in under $1,500, Ackerman is looking forward to making it an annual event.

“I thought it was a great event because it was outside. Families love to be outside, and it brought people together. It was awesome. We’re going to make it bigger and better next year,” she said.

Also sharing the literacy spotlight, media specialist Melanie Tahan was thrilled to bring half a dozen young readers from Rymfire Elementary School to the luncheon, where they could be recognized for their hard work.

“The Rotary also helped support my Sunshine State Reading Program which many of the schools do,” added Tahan.

Posing for a photo with the oversized check, the students from the Sunshine State ‘reading battle’ were happy to ham it up for the cameras.

Enjoying the moment, 2023-24 scholarship recipient Ciara Gordon stood proudly beside her parents and grandparents, beaming ear-to-ear for photos, followed by The Sheltering Tree’s Sue Reese who showed appreciation for the club’s support of a HeartSaver machine.

Guest speakers Flagler Palm Coast High School Wrestling leadership team David Bossardet and Coach DeAugustino shared their view from the winner’s circle.

During his term Barbel spearheaded the ‘Impact Club’ and will continue working with fellow members to bring it to fruition, extending the opportunities for the community to get involved and learn more about the Rotary mission.

“We’re celebrating our donations within the community and letting the community know what we’re all about,” said Barbel. “The Rotary Club of Flagler County is about instilling and giving back to all the organizations we can, being of service to our community.”